Events under 'Sunday Services'
Monday, July 16, 2018

Event Name

Date

Becoming Beacons

Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton.

This weekend, as we bid farewell to 2017 and usher in 2018, we will gather as a congregation for our annual Fire Communion service on Sunday morning. Like the literally two-faced Roman god Janus (for which January is named), we will look back to the past and ahead to the future.

In preparation for the central ritual of Fire Communion, you are encouraged to consider what you wish to relinquish to the year that is now coming to a close. Are there regrets or persistent roadblocks you want to leave behind? Is there a particular hurt or mistake you need to not carry into a new year? These are the things we will be invited to bring to mind and then commit to paper, before igniting those slips of paper with their burdensome words in the light of our chalice.

This ritual doesn’t, of course, automatically erase whatever it is we struggle with, but naming these things can ease our transition to a different way of living, as we—with intention—set our hearts and minds towards the promise of the dawning year.

Also, at 7pm on Sunday, our Peace & Quiet service will provide a simple, contemplative candlelit opportunity to mark the transition to 2018.

With all best wishes for the year ahead!

In faith and love,
Shawn

View the Order of Service.

Sunday, December 31, 2017 10:30 am - 11:30 am
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Peace & Quiet

Come join us in Sunderland Hall as Lynn Harrison leads the last Peace & Quiet service of the year — a perfect and thoughtful way to welcome the new year.

The chalice will be lit, ambient music will be played, opening words will be offered, and there will be a lengthy and deep shared silence during which you may simply be. The service will end after almost an hour with closing words and the extinguishing of the chalice.

Sunday, December 31, 2017 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Detached from recurrence

Lives Lived

Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton.

The Greek and Latin roots of the word “eulogy” speak to the high praise given to one who has died. On Sunday, Rev. Lynn Harrison and I will offer a series of eulogies, giving our high praise to a number of people—the famous and the not-so-famous—who died in 2017. We will offer tributes to lives lived that made an enduring impact in our world, from Mary Tyler Moore to Richard Wagamese to Stuart McLean. Our resident musicians and guest musician Don Campbell will provide music by Gord Downie, Al Jarreau, Chris Cornell, and Tom Petty. While it may seem strange to attend a service packed with eulogies, our hope is that it will be a life-affirming experience for us all as we lift up compelling and complicated examples of lives lived well.

See you on Sunday! Stay warm!

In faith and love,
Shawn

View the Order of Service.

Sunday, January 07, 2018 10:30 am - 11:30 am
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Peace and Quiet

The chalice will be lit, ambient music will be played, opening words will be offered, and there will be a lengthy and deep shared silence during which you may simply be. The service will end after almost an hour with closing words and the extinguishing of the chalice.

Sunday, January 07, 2018 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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New Horizons for Newcomers

Sermon by Rev. Lori Kyle.

On Sunday, January 14th, we're delighted to welcome Rev. Lori Kyle to the pulpit at First Unitarian once again.

A long-time member of the Toronto First community, Lori began her life in ministry at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Durham, but soon discovered a calling toward community ministry. Recognizing the need for employment opportunities for new Canadians, she created New Horizons Painting--an innovative new expression of Unitarian Universalist ministry. Last year, the Canadian Unitarian Council wrote this profile of Rev. Lori and New Horizons.

As the New Year begins, we're reflecting as a congregation on the January theme of "Prophecy"--so it's a wonderful time to welcome new prophetic voices and visions of inclusion. Also on Sunday, we'll hear more inspiring music from our choir and resident musicians, including Ysaye Barnwell's beautiful "Will You Harbour Me". Hope you can join us!

Blessings,
Rev. Lynn

View the Order of Service.

Sunday, January 14, 2018 10:30 am - 11:30 am
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Peace and Quiet

The chalice will be lit, ambient music will be played, opening words will be offered, and there will be a lengthy and deep shared silence during which you may simply be. The service will end after almost an hour with closing words and the extinguishing of the chalice.

Sunday, January 14, 2018 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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Making a Prophet

Sermon by Rev. Lynn Harrison.

January is the month of prophecy at First Unitarian. It's not a time when we attempt to see the future, but when we reflect on our ability to respond to our times with the prophetic witness that calls for social justice.

What does it mean to be a “prophet” in these days and times? How do we affirm and encourage our prophetic callings…especially when they disrupt the current order? Where does a prophetic call come from and where might it lead?

On Sunday, you’re invited to reflect on what prophecy might mean to you…in the light of Unitarian Universalist theology, the history of some of our wisdom sources, and direct first-hand experience. I’m also excited to bring an original song to you once again...and to delight in the beautiful singing of our choir and resident musicians.

See you on Sunday!

View the Order of Service.

Sunday, January 21, 2018 10:30 am - 11:30 am
This event does not repeat

Peace and Quiet

The chalice will be lit, ambient music will be played, opening words will be offered, and there will be a lengthy and deep shared silence during which you may simply be. The service will end after almost an hour with closing words and the extinguishing of the chalice.

Sunday, January 21, 2018 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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The Burdens of Freedom

Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton.

This month, Unitarians around the world are celebrating 450 years of religious freedom. I’ll save that epic story for Sunday, but in the meantime, I hope you’ll give thought to the many freedoms you enjoy. And I hope you’ll consider the responsibilities that come with the freedoms that you have. In my sermon, I’ll explore what I think of as our blessed burden to share from the gifts we’ve received. The choir will be singing “Ella’s Song” —one of my favourite pieces by Sweet Honey and the Rock.

See you on Sunday.

In faith and love,
Shawn

View the Order of Service.

Sunday, January 28, 2018 10:30 am - 11:30 am
This event does not repeat

Peace and Quiet

The chalice will be lit, ambient music will be played, opening words will be offered, and there will be a lengthy and deep shared silence during which you may simply be. The service will end after almost an hour with closing words and the extinguishing of the chalice.

Sunday, January 28, 2018 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
This event does not repeat

The Complicated Webs that We Weave

Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton.

When Unitarians talk about the “interdependent web of all existence, of which we are a part,” we tend to do so in glowing terms, highlighting the sacred bonds that connect every living thing. As we begin this month’s exploration of the theme of Interdependence, though, I will invite us to consider the uncomfortable but sometimes needed places that interdependence takes us, and the often unexpected partners we can discover along the way.

Next Sunday, I’ll be preaching at the Neighbourhood congregation as we continue deepening the ties between our two Unitarian communities. Later that afternoon, I’ll begin a month of sabbatical time. I’ll be using this time to focus on reading and writing for the penultimate class in my doctoral program. As I reach the end of my coursework and begin to pivot to the research and writing stage, I’ll be using some of my accrued sabbatical and study time in a more structured way to complete my program. If I remain on track, I’ll be wrapping up this process in about a year and a half.

While I’m away, in addition to Rev. Lynn Harrison preaching twice, Rev. Dr. Peter Hughes and Rev. Dr. Stephen Atkinson will be leading services, as well. As always, I know the congregation will be in good hands with the support provided by Lynn, our Lay Pastors, and the Pastoral Care Team. Thank you for this gift of time to reflect and study and renew!

In faith and love,
Shawn

View the Order of Service.

Sunday, February 04, 2018 10:30 am - 11:30 am
This event does not repeat

Peace and Quiet

The chalice will be lit, ambient music will be played, opening words will be offered, and there will be a lengthy and deep shared silence during which you may simply be. The service will end after almost an hour with closing words and the extinguishing of the chalice.

Sunday, February 04, 2018 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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All Kinds of Love

Sermon by Rev. Lynn Harrison.

For the past few years, Rev. Shawn Newton has presented a special service close to Valentine’s Day called “All Kinds of Love.” It features a sermon of a different sort, made up entirely of poetry and song and offering a fresh look at love from many eloquent perspectives.

This year, along with worship leader David Gunn, our resident musicians and choir, and storyteller Peter Brydon, I’m excited to present a curated collection of love poems and songs to lift your mid-February spirits!

As the poet Elizabeth Alexander writes, “Human beings have never lived without song, across time and tribe. So poetry has always been necessary, and people have always made it, and shared it, and in some way lived by it.” She goes on to say: “the poem is a force-field against despair.”

In an age when words are too-frequently used in the service of deception and aggression, may the words and music we share on Sunday give comfort, spark inspiration and provide nourishment for love within our hearts—that we may offer it to the world.

With love,
Rev. Lynn

View the Order of Service.

Sunday, February 11, 2018 10:30 am - 11:30 am
This event does not repeat

Peace and Quiet

The chalice will be lit, ambient music will be played, opening words will be offered, and there will be a lengthy and deep shared silence during which you may simply be. The service will end after almost an hour with closing words and the extinguishing of the chalice.

Sunday, February 11, 2018 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
This event does not repeat

Inter/Depend

Sermon by Rev. Dr. Stephen Atkinson.

This Sunday we’re delighted to welcome Stephen Atkinson to our pulpit. He is a Unitarian Universalist minister who has served North Shore Unitarian Church in West Vancouver from 2007 to 2015 and, most recently, St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton as a chaplain.

A deeply insightful, warm and engaging speaker, Stephen’s messages of inspiration are always compelling. This week he’ll offer his perspective on our February theme of “Interdependence.”

Stephen writes: “Interdependence is a Unitarian Universalist buzzword, holding both meaning and illusion. Whether in global crises or personal difficulties, there are times when we must both serve and depend upon others. How ready are we, though, to do the 'depend' part?”

As well, we’ll hear uplifting music from our choir and resident musicians… as we learn to lean on each other, interdependent, in times of both sorrow and joy.

Blessings,
Rev. Lynn

View the Order of Service.

Sunday, February 18, 2018 10:30 am - 11:30 am
This event does not repeat

Peace and Quiet

The chalice will be lit, ambient music will be played, opening words will be offered, and there will be a lengthy and deep shared silence during which you may simply be. The service will end after almost an hour with closing words and the extinguishing of the chalice.

Sunday, February 18, 2018 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
This event does not repeat

My Universalist Career

Sermon by Rev. Peter Hughes.

Sunday I will be talking about Universalism as I found it when I served a small Universalist church in New England. The Universalist people in that church were quite different from the Unitarian Universalists I had encountered before going to seminary. They were not entirely sure they liked Unitarians. They were in denial about the union of the two denominations. And yet, down deep, they shared fundamental values with Unitarians.

Universalism is left out of the name of our Canadian denomination because it was a relatively small phenomenon in Canada. But it is an important, if often misunderstood, aspect of our sister denomination in the United States. The relationship of Unitarianism to Universalism, past and present, may give us insight into how we might begin to bridge cultural, class, and religious divides.

~ Rev. Peter Hughes, Toronto First Member

View the Order of Service.

Sunday, February 25, 2018 10:30 am - 11:30 am
This event does not repeat

Peace and Quiet

The chalice will be lit, ambient music will be played, opening words will be offered, and there will be a lengthy and deep shared silence during which you may simply be. The service will end after almost an hour with closing words and the extinguishing of the chalice.

Sunday, February 25, 2018 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
This event does not repeat

At Risk - International Women's Day

Sermon by Rev. Lynn Harrison.

“I’m here.” “This is me.” “I won’t keep quiet.” “Me, too.” In a year when women’s voices have been rising more clearly than ever, our International Women’s Day service on Sunday, March 4th affirms the rising chorus, and looks at the risks inherent in being silent.

“Risk” is our congregational theme for reflection in the month of March. On Sunday, I’ll reflect on what’s at risk when women’s voices are not heard—and when the “sacred feminine” is not fully integrated into life. Come to be inspired by song and story.

Then, stay afterward to take part in the festive, intergenerational Purim Party organized by the Jewish Awareness Group, admire the beautiful paintings as our Members’ Art Show opens this weekend, or be stimulated by the “Issues and Ideas” lecture and discussion.

As always, we hope you can join us, for what promises to be another Sunday of insight and inspiration at First Unitarian.

Blessings, Rev. Lynn

View the Order of Service.

Sunday, March 04, 2018 10:30 am - 11:30 am
This event does not repeat

Peace and Quiet

The chalice will be lit, ambient music will be played, opening words will be offered, and there will be a lengthy and deep shared silence during which you may simply be. The service will end after almost an hour with closing words and the extinguishing of the chalice.

Sunday, March 04, 2018 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
This event does not repeat

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